RAEFORD — Coaches and select players from eight regional schools gathered Sunday to review conference rules and learn preseason predictions at the first-ever Sandhills Athletic Conference football media day, held at the Bayonet Golf Club at Puppy Creek.
Richmond, who was represented by head coach Bryan Till and seniors Chase Coulthard (offensive lineman) and Andre Ellerbe (linebacker), was picked to finish second behind Scotland — in both the coaches and media polls — for the second consecutive year. The Raiders received 19 points in the media poll, but didn’t pick up any first-place votes in the coaches poll.
Scotland was predicted to end the season on top for the fifth straight year, as it earned four first-place votes in the coaches poll and nine points in the media poll. The Scots haven’t lost a conference game since the 31-21 loss at Richmond back on Nov. 5, 2010. Since then, they have gone 31-0 in conference play.
Although Scotland and Richmond remained atop the early standings, adding Jack Britt and Seventy-First with the six teams from the former Southeastern Conference (2009-2017) shook up the order from No. 3 on down.
Last year, Pinecrest came in third place in the preseason polls, Lumberton was fourth and Purnell Swett and Hoke County was expected to finish fifth and sixth, respectively.
This year, Seventy-First came over from the Mid-South Athletic Conference and eased its way into the third-place slot, while Pinecrest took fourth place in both polls. Jack Britt beat out Lumberton for fifth place in the media poll, but the Buccaneers and Pirates tied for the fifth in the coaches poll.
All four teams each received one first-place vote from the coaches.
Purnell Swett was predicted to finish in seventh place in the media poll (54 points), but eighth in the coaches poll. Hoke rounded out the eight spots with 58 points in the media poll, but was voted into the No. 7 spot in the coaches poll.
Richmond will open its season at Reagan next Friday, Aug. 18, and then face off against three more non-SAC opponenents before getting into conference play. The Raiders hope to end a six-year drought when they wrap up the regular season at Scotland.
The media poll from Sunday’s SAC-8 football media day:
1. Scotland (9 points)
2. Richmond (19 points)
3. Seventy-First (21 points)
4. Pinecrest (33 points)
5. Jack Britt (43 points)
6. Lumberton (52 points)
7. Purnell Swett (54 points)
8. Hoke County (58 points)
The coaches poll from Sunday’s SAC-8 football media day:
1. Scotland (4 votes)
3. Seventy-First (1 vote)
4. Pinecrest (1 vote)
t5. Jack Britt (1 vote)
t5. Lumberton (1 vote)
7. Hoke County
8. Purnell Swett
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.